Vehicle    From 4/12/1930  To 30/3/1954

Empire Windrush

Categories: Race Issues, Transport

Countries: Germany, Jamaica

Liner, built in Hamburg with the name 'Monte Rosa' as a luxury cruise ship. Many of the passengers in the early days were privileged members of the Nazi Party. She saw active service in WW2 and was captured by the British in May 1945. The Empire Windrush was acquired from Germany at the end of WW2 and was used as a troopship until 1954 when it sank in the Med. as the result of a fire.

But the ship’s claim to fame was its arrival on 22 June 1948 at Tilbury Docks carrying 792 passengers from Jamaica, people responding to an advertisement to work in England in the post-war reconstruction. This was the first large-scale arrival of black people and it caused a stir.

"The Windrush Generation" describes the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK from 1948 to 1971.

See Diamond Geezer for where the travellers slept on arrival, and an explanation for why so many settled in Brixton. On what turned out to be her final voyage, a fire broke out on board and she sank while being towed to Gibraltar.

18 June 2018: The government announced that "national Windrush Day will take place on 22 June every year to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants." This announcement was made in the midst of the media storm caused by the discovery of just how badly the Windrush immigrants had been treated by that very government. We believe the day was already being celebrated by the black community, on that date, back in 2017, possibly earlier, but in 2018 it was officially recognised and some funding provided.

2020: While statues of slave-traders are being taken down as a response to the Black Lives Matter campaign, one new memorial is being planned. The New Statesman (paywall) reports that a shipwreck hunter is hoping to find funding to search for the anchor of the Windrush, for erection somewhere yet to be determined: "Tilbury Dock, Windrush Square in Brixton, or a spot in central London as possibilities."

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Empire Windrush

Commemorated ati

Bronze Woman

This was the first statue of a black woman to be on permanent display anywher...

Read More

The Drum

Subbrit gives more information.

Read More

Tottenham and West Green - Windrush

It looks familiar but we cannot determine the significance of the jigsaw puzz...

Read More

Windrush & Commonwealth NHS Nurses and Midwives Statue

London Post has drawings for the sculpture and informs "16 pieces of granite,...

Read More

Windrush fruit

The plaque is laid into the paving to the east of the fruit. Reading our phot...

Read More

Show all 8

Other Subjects

Queen Anne

Queen Anne

Born St James's Palace. Reigned 1702 - 14. Married Prince George of Demark in 1683. From 17 pregnancies only 5 children lived long enough to be christened and the longest surviving died aged 11. An...

Person, Race Issues, Royalty

12 memorials
Edward Owen Greening

Edward Owen Greening

Co-operative movement activist and social reformer. Born at Warrington, Lancashire. He joined the Anti-Slavery Society and was a supporter of the Northern cause in the American civil war. His invol...

Person, Race Issues, Social Welfare

1 memorial
Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Social reformer, writer and statesman. Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, probably in his grandmother's shack in Talbot County, Maryland. He escaped from slavery and became an agent of the ...

Person, Literature, Politics & Administration, Race Issues, Caribbean Islands, USA

2 memorials
Black Consciousness Movement of Azania

Black Consciousness Movement of Azania

Organisation that was the external arm of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). An anti-apartheid activist movement that emerged in South Africa in the mid-1960s after the banning of the African ...

Group, Politics & Administration, Race Issues, South Africa

1 memorial
Admiral Arthur Phillip

Admiral Arthur Phillip

Founder and first governor of Australia. Born in the ward of Bread Street. Entered the Royal Navy 1753. In 1787 he led a fleet of 11 ships, with a complement of four companies of marines as well a...

Person, Armed Forces, Exploring, Race Issues, Australia

1 memorial